Ben Simmons is officially on the trading block, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Philadelphia 76ers star point guard had been rumored to be on the move ever since the Eastern Conference semifinals ended.
Now the Sixers have taken the next step toward possibly dealing Simmons by engaging teams in trade discussions. The three-time All-Star has already been mentioned heavily in a slew of proposals, most notably in a swap for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Simmons’ name is also been softly whispered in Minnesota, Golden State, Cleveland, New Orleans.
But this is the first time that anything definitive has been put on paper. Charania reported that interest around the NBA in Simmons remains “robust” and the Sixers won’t part with the one-time Rookie of the Year for anything less than an “All-Star caliber player in return.” Translation: it’s going to take a Liberty Bell-sized package.
Sixers president Daryl Morey addressed his offseason plan after the team’s disappointing playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The savvy front-office executive sounded committed to his “core trio” but wouldn’t rule out a trade either.
“We have a very strong group we believe in,” Morey told reporters on June 22. “None of us can predict the future of what’s going to happen in any place. We love what Ben [Simmons] brings, we love what Joel [Embiid] brings, we love what Tobias [Harris] brings. In terms of what’s next, we’re going to do what’s best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster.”
The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
Charles Barkley Critiques Simmons (Again)
Sixers legend Charles Barkley slammed Simmons after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals for being “afraid to shoot the basketball.” Which was a valid criticism considering the way he turned down a wide-open dunk in that game.
Well, Barkley was back on his soap box earlier this week during an interview with 6abc’s Jeff Skversky. Here’s a snippet of their conversation:
They got a serious issue on their hand with this Ben Simmons situation, because I know Philly is a very difficult town when things aren’t going good. I hear all these fans talking about we got to trade Ben Simmons but after watching him play – and I know he’s making $30 to $40 million a year – what team, and he’s afraid to shoot the ball, what team wants to trade for that situation? So I think it’s gonna be, I don’t even know the right answer. Do the Sixers think they can fix him? Or are they just gonna trade him for less? Because you’re not gonna get equal value as a player.
Bradley Beal Weighs In on Sixers Star
The Sixers dispatched of the Washington Wizards in five games to start what the team had hoped would be a lengthy postseason run. Simmons averaged 14 points, nine assists, 10 rebounds in the first-round series but that was where the “Hack-a-Ben” strategy really grew a cult following.
The Hawks copied that blueprint late in close games, putting Simmons on the free-throw line where he bricked shot after shot. He went 25-of-73 from the charity stripe (34.2%) in 12 playoff contests, securing the worst free-throw percentage in NBA history for a player with at least 70 attempts. Wizards guard Bradley Beal believes they helped shake his confidence with their “Hack-a-Ben” strategy.
“We kind of exposed the move of fouling Ben [Simmons], putting him on the line a few times,” Beal told CBS Sports. “Granted, I think in our series he actually made a few. So, we had to go away from that instead of just giving away free points.”